Monday, April 20, 2009

Flightblogger: Factory gauntlet begins at 6:30AM PT on April 20th

UPDATE (April 20, 2009, 3:16PM): Boeing has confirmed to Flightblogger that the factory gauntlet has indeed started and should finish by tomorrow morning. An external computer has been hooked up to Dreamliner 1 to test how the airplane "flies." Read Jon's post here.

According to Jon Ostrower, ZA001 will start the first of three gauntlet tests this morning at around 6:30 AM PT. It is expected that this gauntlet should be done by early morning on April 21st thus paving the way for ZA001 to be moved to the flightline.

Jon also confirmed that the flight test wiring is mostly connected and all the external panels have been reinstalled.

Boeing is also getting an accurate measurement of the 787 OEW (operating empty weight) by removing the ballast and weighing the aircraft. It's not known what the result was but it is widely expected to be over the contractual weight.

Jon also reported that the rear fuselage section that was just delivered for ZA100 (Dreamliner 7) was 96% complete. Read Jon's post here.

As I reported on this blog earlier, it is expected that all traveled work in the 787 program will be eliminated starting with Dreamliner 8 (ZA101).

Lastly, Matt Cawby on his photoblog reported that Dreamliner 1 completed engine and APU fire protection systems tests in both the ground and air modes. See Matt's posting here.


Anonymous said...

Could you clarify by what you mean that 'all traveled work will be eliminated starting with plane #8"

Does that mean it will come in 100% according to specs with no remediation necessary?

Uresh said...

During the production of the early 787 (#1 to 7) the major suppliers weren't able to finish off the work that was needed to be done thus that work travelled with the fusealge and wing sections to Everett (thus the term travelled work). This is work that the assembly line in Everett is not equipped nor planned for and that is the major reason for the delay. Now the suppliers are shipping the fuselage sections more and more complete and in the manner that was intended for production of the 787. For example, Spirit Aerosystems makes the forward fuselage for the 787. The first one was an empty shell. Now the fuselage section comes from Wichita fully loaded and stuffed with the full cockpit, nose gear, doors and all the other systems that was intended to be stuffed prior to delivery to the final assembly line. It is 100% complete when it arrives in Everett. The same can be said for the wings at this point whereas the rear fuselage is now 96% complete and will start arriving 100% complete starting with the next airplane on the line. Same with the main fuselage section.

Anonymous said...


If the sections come 100% complete, is the speed of production controlled by the suppliers...or, the ability of the suppliers to provide completed 100% of the work or the speed of the production line to assemble the sectios...or probably a little of both.

Will that production speed be accelerated over time and what level of production does Boeing see its methodology producing 50 planes/year...60...70...etc.

The more efficient the production is, the more of the backlog can be satisfied. It would also enable Boeing to increase its revenue.

What are your thoughts on this matter

Anonymous said...

What about the assembly time in Everett? When the sections come in 100%, how long does it take to assemble the plane and get it in completed state?

Will the speed or method be able to improve with greater margins of productivity?

Anonymous said...

Will a second production line for the 787 eventually have to be opened? At what level of production will that be necessary?

Is it a big deal to open a second line? Expensive? Takes alot of time? Retrain labor? etc

Does it have to be located near line one?

Anonymous said...

Guy Norris reported this morning that the factory gauntlet tests were completed ( ahead of time) (Today is Tuesday) and the focus now moves to the retraction tests of the landing gear.

You thought that the completion of the gauntlet tests would then move the plane out on to the flightline, but this landing gear exercise seems to be in its way.

Do you know how long that takes and whether you have a different expectation for movement to the flightline...